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Marijuana Use Tied to Various Respiratory Risks

September 27, 2018

Marijuana use likely exacerbates the risks for various respiratory symptoms, including cough and shortness of breath, according to recent research.

Researchers made this determination after a systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 studies published between January 1, 1973, and April 30, 2018. Data were obtained from PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Library.

Each study included in the analysis had investigated pulmonary outcomes associated with marijuana use among adolescents and adults.

Findings from 2 prospective studies indicated that marijuana use was associated with an increased risk for:

  • Cough (risk ratio [RR] 2.04)
  • Sputum production (RR 3.84)

In addition, a pooled analysis of 4 cross-sectional studies demonstrated associations of marijuana use with the risks for:

  • Cough (RR 4.37)
  • Sputum production (RR 3.40)
  • Wheezing (RR 2.83)
  • Dyspnea (RR 1.56)

However, available data on the associations of marijuana use with pulmonary function and obstructive lung disease were insufficient, the researchers noted.

“Low-strength evidence suggests that smoking marijuana is associated with cough, sputum production, and wheezing,” the researchers wrote.

—Christina Vogt

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